Monday, 24 March 2008

What a race!

The 60th Devizes to Westminster 125-mile canoe race was won, after 17 and a half hours of paddling, by Richard Hendron and Ollie Harding by a wafer-thin margin of 45 seconds. One crew took 63,150 seconds to complete the course, whereas the other took 63,195. One crew averaged 7.126 miles per hour; the other average 7.121. The crew in third was just four minutes further back!

That's equivalent, at the pace they were going, to only a 140 metres gap between them at the end - which would be enough to see each other after over 200 kilometres of river.

You have to remember that in a timed race like this, the competitors don't all start at the same time. Each crew has made its own calculations as to when to set off in order to reach the high tide 108 miles later at the right point. Apart from a handful of crews who are in the same area at the same time and that your support crew see come through, you generally have no real idea where the competition is. Nobody does - you have to focus on your own race.

In fact, the crew that won set off 45 minutes later. As they passed through the checkpoint after 97 of the 125 miles, their chief rivals had been through there 47 minutes earlier, meaning that they were two minutes down.

Amazingly, Richard Hendron's previous victory 4 years ago (with his brother Henry), was achieved in the same fashion - winning by 65 seconds having been behind on the split timings at the last check-point (108 miles).

No comments: